Bryan Cohen Jul. 15, 2013, 5:40pm

WABASH, Ind. (Legal Newsline) -- Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller on Monday announced a tour and inspection of the Wabash River in hopes of raising awareness about the danger an invasive fish species poses to the river's ecosystem and native fish.

Zoeller and John Goss, the director of the federal government's Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, will travel downriver to meet with residents, groups and officials in Logansport, Peru, Lafayette, Clinton, Terre Haute, Merom, Vincennes and New Harmony.

The non-native Asian carp could disrupt the food chain and displace native fish species, harming the commercial and recreational fishing industries, they contend.

"We all want to protect the Great Lakes from future problems with Asian carp but need to recognize the current environmental problems currently being caused by this invasive species," Zoeller said in a statement.

"I appreciate director Goss -- a Hoosier himself -- and our federal partners for their help in the effort to protect and preserve the quality of our rivers and streams for those of us who enjoy fishing, boating and recreation along the Wabash River."

The Asian carp, which include bighead carp and silver carp, spread northward up the Mississippi River since they were accidentally released from fish hatcheries in the South in the 1970s.

In February 2010, Zoeller filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Michigan's legal dispute with Illinois over Asian carp control methods. The court declined to hear the dispute.

Currently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates electric barriers in waterways outside Chicago to prevent the carp from spreading into Lake Michigan. The group installed a chain-link fence to prevent the fish from spreading into Lake Erie.

Zoeller said he wants to make sure the concerns of Hoosier stakeholders are heard by the federal government and that Indiana does not face an unfair cost burden in the process.

"We are concerned about the costs to Indiana of controlling this aquatic pest whose spread was not caused by the citizens of Indiana," the attorney general said.

Zoeller also will use the river inspection tour to monitor for water quality along the Wabash River.

More News